Improve cover and save money by taking a new approach to insuring your aircraft. Promotional Feature

Accidents can happen even to the best of pilots, often through circumstances beyond their control.

Taxiing collisions with other aircraft or vehicles, bird strikes and uneven runways and parking areas can cause thousands or even tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage. You can be unlucky even if you’re a careful owner but, of course, you will be covered by your insurance. Won’t you?

Insurance is one of those things that falls into the ‘have to’ rather than ‘want to’ category, and sometimes it can be tempting to opt for a policy without paying too much attention to the fine print.

However, this approach can mean you are paying for cover you don’t need or, more importantly, missing out on cover you do need.

One thing that is often in the fine print but can take a back seat, is betterment. Betterment comes into play when you have to make a claim and you discover that your insurers will not cover you for the full cost of the repair or replacement of the part, as you will be making your property ‘better’ than it was before.

For example (as the illustration shows), you get a prop-strike in an uneven parking area, the insurers factor in the age of your propeller and determine its value as £4,000. However, you have to pay £8,000 to replace it. Not your fault, but you’re the one unexpectedly out of pocket.

‘It can come as a nasty surprise when you make a claim, to find out you will have to pick up the bill for some of it,’ said Philip Lepp, Managing Director of aviation insurance provider Sydney Charles. ‘This is why we ensure that all our clients have free, value-agreed betterment cover as part of our policies. We understand that clients who pay for quality expect quality in return and betterment cover is a part of this.’

He continues: ‘We understand that insurance is something that pilots want to get out of the way as quickly and cheaply as possible, but the message has to be to talk to your insurance provider and make sure you have cover that is completely tailored to your needs. In the same way there’s no such thing as a typical pilot, there’s no such thing as a typical policy. What is included as standard can vary greatly.’

Pilots should bear in mind that insurers genuinely do want to help, but can only do so if they have the full picture. For example, in talking to new clients the advisors at Sydney Charles discovered that a number had two aircraft and were paying over the odds to insure them.

They looked at the options and in response launched a new, innovative insurance policy to help pilots save money – the One Up One Down policy. This is designed for pilots who have two private aircraft in any combination, e.g. fixed wing and rotor, glider and prop, or modern and vintage. It takes into account that only one of the aircraft will be airborne at any given time. In doing so, it can offer a dramatic reduction in premiums without a drop in the level of cover, as the second aircraft still has full cover on the ground. After all, you can only fly one at a time!

Insurers like Sydney Charles are out there – working hard to meet the individual needs of pilots – and they could make a very significant difference to your cover and your wallet.

The message is shop around, get in touch and talk through what you need and what extras you can get. It may be that you can do ‘better’ than you think!

For more information on how you could be covered by Sydney Charles visit

Sydney Charles provides bespoke aviation insurance across Europe. With over 70 years’ experience, our expert team is committed to enhancing your cover and lowering your premiums.

Expert aviation insurance for Europe’s pilots with Sydney Charles

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